England Hits New Low
Today came the news that England have once again slipped down the world rankings and now lie in 17th place.
September 13th, 2013
It’s somewhere they haven’t been since ‘King Kev’ last reigned. The rankings haven’t been kind to the other home nations either, with Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland all falling and Northern Ireland the only positive movers, climbing 23 places, a rise largely credited to their shock win over 15th placed Russia.
Some have criticized the way the rankings are produced, however the averages used in calculating the points each team has gained is solid enough to give an accurate picture of the in-form teams in the world. The fact of the matter is that England have had a poor World Cup qualifying campaign, drawing 4 out of their 8 games. Whilst they have obliterated teams such as San Marino and Moldova, FIFA doesn’t rank these opponents highly (and rightly so) and therefore the ranking points gained are limited.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. We have some exciting prospects ready to fill the boots of the ‘Old Guard’. The likes of Wilshire, Zaha, Walcott, Barkley and Oxlade-Chamberlain are all perfectly capable of pushing England to a more exciting, flamboyant style of play; something I’m sure the supporters would relish. Maybe we don’t need Lampard and Gerrard after all. But it’s up to this new crop to show what they’re made of in Rio 2014 and beyond. Rickie Lambert has also been a breath of fresh air, showing that you don’t always need to rely on youth being pushed through to get you results.
The solution isn’t simple, or quick. The state of grassroots football needs to be addressed, with young English players being taught to be their own player rather than the player the club wants them to be. Couple this with non-competitive football that is simply ‘fun’ to play and you have youngsters who can not only think quickly and creatively, but also have the technique to get out of sticky situations. Yes, we want our players to have that ‘win at all costs’ mentality, but that can come later. New FA Chairman Greg Dyke even admitted, “English football is a tanker that needs turning.”
Creativity is the key for younger players, after all, they just want to recreate the silky skills they see Cristiano Ronaldo perform week in, week out. The formula has been successful in countries such as Spain, Germany and Belgium, and hopefully with the introduction of Dyke as FA chairman we can once again start to see the emergence of great English talents in the mould of Charlton, Hoddle and Shearer in the years to come.